For once, this volume actually turned up on release day rather than a week or so afterwards like it normally does in the UK, hurrah!
With their troubles in Ruvinheigen solved, Lawrence and Holo continue their travels to the small farming village of Tereo in the hope of finding out more about Holo's homeland of Yoitsu. However, something seems amiss and as outsiders in a small village they come under suspicion - especially after [spoiler]some of the wheat the town sold was found to be poisoned[/spoiler].
This volume starts adapting Volume 3 of the light novel, which was not animated and sits between seasons 1 and 2 of the anime. The relative lack of action in that volume was likely the reason why it was not animated despite there being a fair amount of content in it. However, the manga adapts this light novel volume at a very rapid pace, skipping a lot of the initial introductions and intrigue and skipping straight in to the more action-y part of the story. Again, I can understand why this was done but for anyone that has not read the light novel they may have some difficulty understanding the flow of the story presented in the manga as it jumps between some pretty important plot points.
As always however, I have to praise the quality of the artwork in this volume. The light novel for this arc had some adorable scenes and illustrations, and Keito Koume, the artist for the manga, has done an excellent job of illustrating them. If only it was also in full colour, it would be fantastic! If you don't mind spoilers, have a look at some of the pictures of the artwork over on Aka's blog (click the spoiler toggle to see them).
Despite my complaints about how the story was adapted in this volume, I still quite enjoyed it. However, I would strongly recommend that anyone reading this volume first read volume 3 of the light novel so that they completely understand the story. I suspect that volume 8 of the manga will complete the Tereo storyline (there's not much left after all). Volume 8 has a tentative "June 2013" release in English, which isn't too surprising since it only came out in Japan a month ago. Don't forget that Volume 7 of the light novel, which contains a few side stories, is also out later this month.
Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 7 is available at Amazon, ISBN 9780316229111.
Volume 5 left us on a bit of a cliffhanger, but thankfully Volume 6 picks up right where we left off and straight back in to the action with the conclusion of the Gold Smuggling plot. Keito Koume has excelled once again and illustrates scenes such as the [spoiler]battle between Holo and the Remelio Company[/spoiler] and [spoiler]Holo's state of undress[/spoiler] rather well. The cover illustration also excels, showing Holo in both her forms rather well.
Volume 6 finishes up Volume 2 of the light novel, and as only a small amount of story was left for Volume 6, there are two spare chapters. Rather than starting Volume 3 of the light novel early, the Melancholy of Wolf and Amber side story is instead adapted, where [spoiler]Holo gets sick[/spoiler]. When this side story was animated (Season 2, Episode 00), it was rather adorable and the manga manages to also achieve this to an extent. It is rather amusing to see Holo looking meek for once rather than her usual proud self.
is due for release was released in November. At the moment, i'm not sure if this will adapt Volume 3 of the light novel (which wasn't animated), or skip to Volume 4 (which was animated in season 2). It would be nice to Volume 3 of the light novel adapted simply because there are some adorable scenes and great dialogue between Holo and Lawrence which I think could be adapted rather well. I shall have to wait and see!
Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 6 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316210324.
It's been a busy few months and the release of the 5th volume of the Spice and Wolf manga almost missed me, thankfully Amazon decided to remind me of such important things and I received it, as usual, on the release date. This post has also been sitting in my Drafts folder for quite some time, so long in fact that the 6th volume has now arrived!
Volume 5 picks up where Volume 4 left off, with Lawrence being asked to repay his huge debt just after the armour prices have crashed in Ruvinheigen. Again, we've got a lovely full colour image of Holo relaxing, albeit with an unusually large apple (much to her delight?). The cover image is also fantastic, with Holo putting on quite a cunning grin. This volume also contains the [spoiler]argument scene between Lawrence and Holo[/spoiler], this was very well done in the light novel and the manga has done a fantastic job of illustrating their behaviour and expressions. As usual, the very high standards of artwork have been maintained thought this volume. Keito Koume is truly one of the best mangaka i've ever seen.
The bonus track in this volume takes a bit of an unusual turn and abandons the traditional setting of Spice and Wolf. Entitled K9-ON, it puts Holo and Nora in a band with Lawrence as their manager. I'm not making this up - go read it!
is due for release was released on the 27th of March 2012, hopefully this will conclude the Ruvinheigen arc. I'm keen to see how some of the scenes are handled.
Spice and Wolf Manage Volume 5 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316210324.
Volume 4 starts around where Volume 3 left off, with Holo and Lawrence finishing up their deal in Poroson. This volume stays mostly true to the original light novel, but adds a few minor things in here and there.
There is one full colour image in this volume, right at the start just like in Volume 3. The image itself is quite a nice one of Holo and Nora together, although Nora looks somewhat uncomfortable with Holo's sudden presence! The bonus track in this volume is a small Nora side story which I found slightly confusing to follow towards the end, the artwork depicting Nora and Enek together though is adorable! Indeed, this volume continues the same high standards of artwork seen in the previous volumes.
Oddly enough, this volume still carries the explicit content warning, despite the fact there is absolutely nothing explicit or even questionable in this volume at all, unlike the previous volumes.
Volume 4 of the manga covers the end of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 3 in volume 2 of the light novel. It would be nice to think that Volume 5 of the manga, set for release on the 25th of October 2011, would cover the remainder of Volume 2 of the light novel but i'm doubtful that they'd be able to fit 3 chapters of content and the epilogue into one volume of manga. Perhaps the recently released (in Japan) Volume 6 of the manga will end Volume 2 of the light novel?
Volume 4 of the light novel is set for release later this month, on the 28th of June 2011. As usual, I can hardly wait. It's always such a long time between each volume's release and this is perhaps my favourite novel series!
Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 4 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316178266
Volume 3 picks up where Volume 2 left off, with Lawrence and Holo in Pazzio's sewers attempting to escape the Medio company after figuring out their plan. It continues all the way through to the sale of the pepper in Poroson. While mostly true to the original light novel, this volume of the manga adds in scenes of Nora, the shepherdess, before Lawrence and Holo have met her. This works fairly well as we're able to understand her background and previous life as seen by her, rather than as told by her.
Volume 3 has one full colour page right at the start of Holo partially covered by a few furs. I find this a little strange, as they sold the furs all the way back in Volume 1! I would have much preferred to have seen one of the scenes in full colour instead of a picture. The "Bonus Track" chapter in Volume 3 really is a bonus, in the previous volume the bonus track simply continued the story. However, this time we've got a short story set in Japan's Edo period where Holo is a courtesan and Laurence is (still) a merchant. The bonus track was an amusing, if somewhat different, read. As with the previous two volumes, the artwork is extremely detailed thought the manga.
Volume 3 of the manga covers chapter 6 and the epilogue of Volume 1 of the light novel and chapter 1 of Volume 2 of the light novel. Volume 4 of the manga has no release date on the Yen Press website, but Amazon lists it as the 31st of May 2011. Volume 3 of the light novel is set for release very soon, on the 7th of December 2010 - I can hardly wait!
Spice and Wolf Manga Volume 3 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316102346.